Lessons in Chemistry: Why Does Elizabeth Name Her Dog Six Thirty?

In Apple TV+’s ‘Lessons in Chemistry,’ we follow Elizabeth Zott on a tumultuous journey as a woman navigating a man’s world. She has to face many hardships along the way, but she finds people who love and support her and encourage her to succeed against all odds. One of her constant companions is her dog, whom she names Six-Thirty. She finds the Labradoodle outside her house one day, going through the trash. She gives him food, and he accepts her as his human. Over the years, Six-Thirty becomes the source of comfort for Elizabeth, but why did she name him so? Let’s find out.

The Story Behind Six-Thirty’s Name

When Calvin asks Elizabeth the name of her dog, she says, “Six-Thirty.” With her being a chemist, he assumes that it refers to Carbon and Zinc, given that their atomic numbers are six and thirty, respectively. However, Elizabeth clarifies that it has more to do with time than the periodic table. She calls the dog Six-Thirty because, every morning, he wakes her up at 6:30, like clockwork.

As curious as the dog’s name is, it’s no surprise that Elizabeth would name him after something related to his personality. In the book, on which the Apple TV+ series is based, we get a perspective from the dog, and he believes that his name is Six-Thirty because that’s when he became a part of Elizabeth’s family. The show tweaks a few things, and Six-Thirty is introduced much earlier in the show.

In the book, by the time he and Elizabeth find each other, she and Calvin are already in love and have moved in together. She and the dog cross paths with each other while she is on her way home, and he follows her. When she reaches home, Calvin asks her the time, and she says Six-Thirty. From then on, they call the dog Six-Thirty, as this is when they truly became a family.

Author Bonnie Garmus has revealed in her interviews that Six-Thirty is the only character in the story based on someone from real life. She based the fictional dog on her own dog, Friday. “Friday was a really intelligent dog. She had been badly abused, but she could learn, and she knew a lot of words,” Garmus said, adding that Friday even picked words in foreign languages, like German. She bestowed the same intelligence on Six-Thirty, believing that someone like Elizabeth wouldn’t underestimate anyone’s intelligence, even if it’s a dog.

Garmus’ dog, Friday, died a few years before the book came out. Now, she has another dog named 99, who is also the face of Six-Thirty on an Instagram account run by the author. “I had a best friend, and she and I called each other Eighty-Six and Ninety-Nine our entire lives. It’s from an old TV show called Get Smart, and it just caught our fancy. But anyway, she unfortunately died. It was really tragic for me, and when we got a new dog, we named her Ninety-Nine in honor of my friend,” the author added. Considering all this, it’s clear that Garmus gave her penchant for giving unique names to dogs to Elizabeth in ‘Lessons in Chemistry,’ which is how Six-Thirty ended up getting such a name.

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